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Braswell v. Gillispie

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division

November 15, 2018

Imani Aliyah Braswell also known as Cathy Kirkland Braswell also known as Cathy Delores Kirkland, Plaintiff,
v.
Administrator Gillispie, Tim Eubanks, Lisa Gainey, Pam Byrd, Southern Health Partners, Veronica Deas, Nurse Corey, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          JACQUELYN D. AUSTIN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on a motion for summary judgment filed by Defendants Administrator Gillispie, Tim Eubanks, and Lisa Gainey [Doc. 41] and another summary judgment motion filed by Defendants Southern Health Partners, Veronica Deese, [1]Pam Byrd, and Nurse Corey [Doc. 49]. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d), D.S.C., this magistrate judge is authorized to review all pretrial matters in cases filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and to submit findings and recommendations to the District Court.

         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed this action on October 31, 2017, [2] alleging violations of her constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on her claim that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to her medical needs and also alleging violations of the Health Care Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) and the Federal Privacy Act of 1974 (the “Privacy Act”). [Doc. 1.] On July 5, 2018, Defendants Gillispie, Eubanks, and Gainey filed a motion for summary judgment. [Doc. 41.] The next day, pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), Petitioner was advised to respond to the motion and of the possible consequences if she failed to adequately respond. [Doc. 44] Defendants Deese, Byrd, Corey, and Southern Health Partners filed a motion for summary judgment on July 19, 2018. [Doc. 49.] And the following day, the Court filed another Roseboro order. [Doc. 50.] Subsequently, Plaintiff filed a letter in which she agreed to a Rule 41 dismissal of Defendants Gillispie, Eubanks, and Gainey but requested that the Court not dismiss her action as against Defendant Southern Health Partners.[3] [Doc. 67.]

         On October 4, 2018, Plaintiff filed a response stating/requesting as follows:

Defendants Southern Health Partners, [Byrd, Deese, and Teal], are hereby asked that they provide[] me with a copy of my medical records from Chesterfield County Detention Center. All forms that I submitted and grievances that I wrote while in custody. The giving me the wrong medication the wrong dosage. The yellow sticky note w[h]ere they put on my folder denying me my meds.

[Doc. 76.] The same day, Plaintiff filed another response conceding that Defendants Gillispie, Eubanks, and Gainey “are granted [summary judgment].” [Doc. 77.][4]

         On October 11, 2018, Defendants Deese, Byrd, Corey, and Southern Health Partners filed a reply opposing Plaintiff's request for discovery and responding to Plaintiff's filing to the extent the filing opposed summary judgment for other reasons. [Doc. 79.] The two summary judgment motions are now ripe for review.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at the Chesterfield County Detention Center (“the CCDC”) during all times relevant to this action. [Doc. 1 at 7; see also Doc. 49 at 2.] During the times relevant to the action, Southern Health Partners had a contract to provide medical services at the CCDC, and Defendants Byrd, Deese, and Teal were nurses employed by Southern Health Partners doing work at the CCDC. [Doc. 49 at 2.]

         Plaintiff alleges Defendants disclosed private information regarding her medical condition to other CCDC inmates. [Doc. 1 at 6, 15-16.] She also alleges that Defendants failed on some days to provide her with certain medications that she needed for particular health conditions. [Id. at 6, 16-20.] Based on these factual allegations, Plaintiff alleges violations of her rights under HIPAA, the Privacy Act, and the Eighth Amendment. [Id. at 4-5, 15-20.] Plaintiff seeks $500, 000 in actual damages and $1, 000, 000 in punitive damages and an order requiring Defendants to “[g]ive classes on HIV/AIDS.” [Id. at 6.]

         APPLICABLE LAW

         Liberal Construction of Pro Se Complaint

         Plaintiff brought this action pro se, which requires the Court to liberally construe his pleadings. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Loe v. Armistead, 582 F.2d 1291, 1295 (4th Cir. 1978); Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). Pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. Haines, 404 U.S. at 520. The mandated liberal construction means only that if the Court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which the plaintiff could prevail, it should do so. Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128, 1133 (10th Cir. 1999). A court may not construct the plaintiff's legal arguments for her. Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411, 417-18 (7th Cir. 1993). Nor should a court “conjure up questions never squarely presented.” Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).

         Requirements for a Cause of Action Under § 1983

         This action is filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides a private cause of action for constitutional violations by persons acting under color of state law. Section 1983 “‘is not itself a source of substantive rights,' but merely provides ‘a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred.'” Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994) (quoting Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n.3 (1979)). Accordingly, a civil action under § 1983 allows “a party who has been deprived of a federal right under the color of state law to seek relief.” City of Monterey v. Del Monte Dunes at Monterey, Ltd., 526 U.S. 687, 707 (1999).

         Section 1983 provides, in relevant part,

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or any person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress . . .

42 U.S.C. § 1983. To establish a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must prove two elements: (1) that the defendant “deprived [the plaintiff] of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States” and (2) that the defendant “deprived [the plaintiff] of this constitutional right under color of [State] statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage.” Mentavlos v. Anderson, 249 F.3d ...


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